A heated debate on school choice took place over the weekend on a Missouri Democrat’s social media page – though she quickly blocked the national expert who called her out for opposing choice while sending her kids to private school.
Leslie Jones, a Democrat candidate for Missouri House District 130 in Springfield, had written at least one anti-school-choice post on X (formerly Twitter), positing that education freedom is “a scam on the American people to put money in the pockets of the millionaires. Nothing more.”
That was in response to a post by national school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis. When DeAngelis pointed out to Jones the hypocrisy of her sending her children to a private school, she blocked him from her account.
“How quickly attention from the millionaires destroying our states came,” she wrote. “Yes, my kids go to private school. They go to the school associated with my church. It was cheaper than daycare when we started. now I choose to keep my kids there bc I feel they are safer and their friends …”
“how odd this hypocrite running for Missouri state representative accidentally blocked me after I pointed out she sends her kids to private school @lesliejones4mo,” DeAngelis posted – asking in a subsequent post why Jones appears to have deleted her response to him.
But even with DeAngelis banished, the give and take on Jones’ X thread was only just beginning.
“As a single, working mother who has homeschooled for many years,” @RareCamellia wrote to Jones, “I would love the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with you about education.” Jones replied that she’d love to.
But others were much more pointed.
“Your position seems to be that if you can afford to pay for private school, you have every right to send your child,” wrote @JMRivers17. “But if you’re too poor, you can’t expect the government to pay for your kid to go. Right?”
“That was not my intention,” she responded. “I am not a rich person. Just because my children go to a certain school that they enjoy and I did not want to pull out of once they were old enough to go to public school does not mean I view myself above anyone.”
“Your intentions (don’t) matter,” responded @TheGuySwann. “Results matter. Forcing people to pay for any service, school or otherwise, that (doesn’t) serve them and even (harms) their children, is evil. Just incredible that you want your kids to be safe, so they go to private school, but others want their kids safe, and you demean and ridicule them.”
@survive22morrow writes, “I support our public schools, and a family’s choice to use their tax money to support the education of their choice. Sometimes (that’s) not at a public school.”
“Why isn’t government school good enough for your kids, but it IS good enough for mine?” writes X user @Amish_but.
“Genuine question: I grew up incredibly poor,” writes @mearmstrong77. “My own family benefited greatly from school choice. Why do you want to deny families like mine … the opportunity to have a better education?”
Apparently accusing DeAngelis of trolling her, at one point Jones posted, “Learning how to navigate trolling is definitely an eye opening experience. What a morning.”
“‘trapping poor families in failing schools should be your campaign motto,” writes @DaikanyamaGuy. “truth is not trolling.”
“How is it trolling when they caught you in a lie?” wrote @Rowdy_Richie.
“I’m not lying about anything,” Jones replied. “I can send my children to a private school and support public schools at the same time.”
But can she? Rowdy Richie doesn’t think so, anyway.
“How does sending your kids to private schools support public schools?” he responds. “Clearly you think so little of public schools that you have sent your children to private schools. Perhaps instead of running for a state position, you may want to run for a local position to strengthen the public schools that your children would go to, so you could bolster that school and transition them back.”
“Funding students and empowering parents to make their own choices about their children’s education is a great idea,” adds @TylerChrestman. “The fact that you oppose it while being able to afford to send your kids to private school yourself is (amazing). How much is the tuition you pay by the way?”
“I am opposed to our schools being 49th in funding,” Jones replies. “We need to support them financially so they grow not deteriorate. The school choice vouchers seems like it could hurt the most vulnerable of schools.”
“So when you live in St. Louis & the schools have less than 10% of students who can read or do math at grade level, your solution is to pump more money into a system that has failed,” @TylerChrestman responds. “Meanwhile inner city kids will continue to fall behind their peers and your kids will be just fine.”
When Jones claims she wants to spend more on public schools so none of them fail, @danielb106 notes that, “Those schools’ per student funding is higher than the tuition of most private schools, yet they still suck. That implies funding isn’t the problem.
“If private schools can operate at a higher level with less funding, as I’m sure you’d agree, as you send your kids to one, it’s not a funding problem, it’s how the money is used by public schools, which is largely dictated by union contracts.”
At one point a Jones supporter laments on her X thread that, “This place is so incredibly toxic.” But The Lion did not see any comments on the thread that were even uncivil, let alone “toxic.”
Yet, at one point Jones complains, “I caught the attention of the school choice millionaire and they are going at me HARD.”
In response to that, @GrokkingSchool writes, “Do you want to hold public office or not? Because receiving criticism as a representative of our government is part of the package. So important it’s protected by the first of many constitutional amendments.”
“Criticism is one thing,” Jones answers. “Being trolled by millionaires is not some thing I am going to welcome. I am always here for conversation for people who want to actually talk and listen.”
“I’m a public school teacher and it’s valid to call out someone who opposes school choice while opting out of public schools for their family,” @GrokkingSchool responds. “The target of criticism shouldn’t define what is/isn’t trolling. Let us, the public who will live with your policy votes, determine that.”
As for Jones saying she feels her kids are safer at a private school, @AndrewGustafson opines, “It’s not hypocrisy, it’s hierarchy. She thinks she’s better than you, and that a different set of rules apply for people as woke as she is.”
The House District 130 incumbent is Rep. Bishop Davidson, a Republican.